Friday, October 2, 2015

October Interview: Gina Winfield

Meet Gina--my spunky, precious new character I'm developing another WW1 novel I'm working on. :) I hope you enjoy her as much as I did!

Tell us a bit about yourself.
How do you do, darlings? My name is Gina Winfield, and my mama said I was born to boss the fates. I’m two parts skilled mechanic, two parts good cook, and a dab of red lipstick on sassy days.

How old are you?
I was born December 7th, 1892, to two of the best parents I know. That makes me 28. Yes, you have no business knowing.

Tell us about your family. :)
My dad runs an export business and my mom’s a pillar of the community, helping out with every church potluck, distressed family, and church committee you could think of. Her garden supplied all the flowers for the church decorations. Our house hosted most of the elder sessions because my dad was on the council. I always hid in the cellar and listened, eating apples out of the fruit barrel. Mama said every girl ought to know housekeeping from top to bottom, so I helped get ready for all the dinners and our old servant taught me how to cook. Daddy taught me to fix the family car. He loved cars, and they never had a boy, so I tried to stand in now and then. They said I was to live decent, work hard, and love Jesus. That’s always been my mantra. When I have the time, I like to knock the sass out of stuck up individuals.

What was life like growing up?
We had enough to be comfortable growing up. We were so comfortable I went to a nice college and had to force my parents to stop sending me an allowance afterwards so I could stand on my own two feet. I did let them buy my house for me. I didn’t have enough to be that independent. But now I have enough to keep myself comfortably and help out a couple of families who need the extra money. I’m just mongrel British since the time of the crusades. I don’t have any kind of fancy foreign blood in me. And I lived in Oxford growing up, so we never saw the sea. 
How educated are you?
I’m college educated. I did well in every subject, but my favorite subject was getting outdoors with a tennis racquet. It’s a clean, honest sport--though college girls can make it petty enough for anything. After college I travelled to see places in Scotland, Leeds, and Bristol before settling down to earn a living.

Religious preferences?

I’ve been a Presbyterian all my life. Being an elder’s daughter you can’t help it. I know more church politics than anyone else. I believe in all the verses about helping orphans and widows. And getting women the vote so someone sensible can run this country. Oh, wait, there isn’t a verse about that. But I’m a confident lass. I pray confidently, I sing confidently, and when I get to heaven I’m going to tell God how much I like him.

Tell us some words that describe you.
Words that describe me: Confidence. Sass. Workaholic. Passionate. Skilled.

And what do you look like?
You want to know what I look like? You objectifying toad. I’m pretty. Just look at my collar bones. I have better muscles than most women, and I like to keep slim. I don’t eat half the things I cook. I stand up straight with my shoulders back and my chin up. That shows the world who’s boss. I have a nice, oval face with a healthy glow and pixie-slanted eyes. I can’t remember what color they are. My nose is straight. Like a file. Nothing soft about it. And my lips are honest-cut and generous, not rosebud like, but I don’t want a sissy look. I love putting red lipstick on them. Even for everyday work at the garage. (Daddy's friend got me a job at a garage as a mechanic. I fixed his car when he visited our house and Daddy was gone, which completely enchanted him.) I have pale skin. Firm, soft, white. Except for my hands. Those are mostly stained from oil and grease, and I can never get it out from under my fingernails. I have piercings for earrings and I have no scars. My voice is slightly loud, common sense, and straightforward. Alto voice. Guttural when I’m purring sarcasm. People notice the lipstick first and the jumpsuit with pant legs next whenever they see me. I like khaki jumpsuits. I’m not going to pump gas and fix cars in dresses. But when I’m not working, I wear nice, colorful dresses with floral prints or solids, and soft cardigans that I’ve knitted myself. I keep my hair short around my shoulders, and it curls on its own, but I enhance it sometimes.

What is your love language?
My love language is gifts. I’m always giving things to people.

Tell us your strongest and weakest points.
My strong points are dignity, firm sense of character, and kindness to children. My weak points are sass, annoyance, and not thinking much of men. I have a lot of self-discipline. Never skip work, even for headaches.

What are you good at? What do people like about you?
I’m good at cooking, amusing children, dancing, makeup, and fixing cars. I’m also good at tennis. I can’t carry a tune to save my life. People like my chocolate cake best. Women like the fact that I don’t mind saying what everyone’s thinking. Churches like my willingness to volunteer for community events.

What are your preferences in politics? Music? Arts?
I’m a suffragette. I believe women have the right to vote. I don’t attend rallies. They’re loud and defiant and counter-productive. Jazz music is my favorite. I don’t read books. I love going to movies. Anything about history or action.

Do you play sports?
I love tennis on a good day, brisk walks by the shore, or bike rides. I did play tennis in school, and I played it well. I still have awards in my bedroom closet.

Favorite color?
My favorite color is red.

How do you like to spend the weekend?
Best way to spend the weekend? In bed. Sleeping in. Don’t even move. Just look at magazines and drink tea. Maybe get up in the afternoon for a nice Saturday night date.

What do you like for gifts?
I love fruit, chocolate, and jazz records as gifts. Socks and books are insulting. (Gina has shocking taste in that.)

Any pets?
One pet. A black cat named Jarlath. My landlords won’t care as long as he stays in the barn. He’ll get hay bits stuck in his nice, sleek fur. Beasts.

What are you like when you're happy? Sad? Angry?
When I’m happy, I smile and give hugs. I dance in the kitchen. And hum, even though it doesn’t sound good. When I’m angry, I’ll tell you so. I’ll bang pots and pans and clatter the oven racks and split wood and change a tire. When I’m frustrated, I always work it out by myself, preferably by working on a car while I think. When I’m sad, I throw myself on the bed and cry in sad abandon. I don’t mind crying in front of people. I’ll cry in front of anyone. When I’m afraid, I’ll tuck it all inside and put on the fiercest front I can muster.

What cheers you up? What annoys you?
Chocolate and jazz cheer me up. You can annoy me by being infuriatingly polite and agreeable, or questioning my strength.

Have you ever done anything you're ashamed of?
Well, I actually did sling a wrench at a man’s head when he told me I was pretty. He deserved it. I also give a lot of people a good dressing-down. Sometimes I regret it. I regret doing it to my dad a few times, especially on my twentieth birthday. That wasn’t very grateful.

Do you have any secrets? 
My weight. I don’t want to tell people that. Also the splotch on my right leg just below my knee. It’s a birth mark, and so inconvenient when short skirts come into fashion. Also my morning breath. No one deserves to have that inflicted upon them.

You are the kind of person who... (finish this sentence)
I am the kind of person who will hug you, scold you, feed you, love you all in the course of one day. I am the kind of person who complains about hard work, but I’ll be the first to volunteer.
And there you have it! What cheers you up? And how do you like to spend the weekend? :)


  1. Oh. My. Word. When I saw the link to an interview with Gina Winfield I stopped a second and contemplated whether or not I wanted to read it. :P Good job on the interview, Schuyler! You definitely brought out her personality well.

    "and when I get to heaven I’m going to tell God how much I like him." I had a nice laugh at this.

    I like the fact that she knows how to fix a car. Otherwise the red lipstick would make her come across as really girlie -- although her personality isn't very girlie. :P

    Thanks for introducing Gina to us, Schuyler! I'll have to read a bit more about her before coming to any conclusions. :chuckle: I wonder who will be easier for you to write about -- Jaeryn or Gina. :)


    1. Whether or not you wanted to read it?! Oh, come, Lizzy, Gina's actually a very sweet girl. Some of the sweeter parts of her character I was unable to post, due to spoilers. I have an exciting arc for her, and I think you will actually come to enjoy it. :)

      I love her frank honesty--even on things about religion--she's not always bold in the right ways, but in some areas, (especially how much she likes God) her boldness is refreshing.

      You shall have all the time you need. But I hope you come to like her as much as I do. ;D


  2. My, what a character! I have a feeling she would intimidate me in real life, and maybe we wouldn't get along very well (I probably fall into that "infuriatingly polite and agreeable" category), but Miss Winfield must be exhilarating to write. :)

    1. Gina is...rather frank and hasty in writing down words. I doubt she would actually be so abrasive in real life, especially to people she sees an opportunity to be kind to. In writing, she is able to put down whatever she happens to think up right away.

      She likes people to be honest. And she would considers honesty, even somewhat painful honesty, more polite in the end than always agreeing.

      (I doubt she would like me either.)

      I have no idea how she will be to write--but I look forward to finding out!

  3. What a delightful character! It was good to finally get to know the car mechanic who I admire. XD I was trying to figure out her personality type while reading this . . . ESTP, perhaps? Or maybe ESTJ. Somewhere in that ballpark.

    1. Victoria! You amazing girl! I never stopped to figure out her Myers-Briggs letters, but I'm going to look those up and see if I can glean even more about her! I've looked on the Enneagram and have her pegged as a type 8 (challenger) with a strong type 7 wing as well.

      I hope you like her in story form someday!

  4. I'm pleased to make Miss Gina's acquaintance and am looking forward with great anticipation to her character's role. :) I feel much the same way as the Philologist--in real life I would fear and admire her from afar, but I would venture to taste her baked goods. If I were feeling very brave, I might ask her about style advice for my bag projects. Does she carry a bag? (Does she care for olives?)

    1. Gina's been percolating in my mind for a few years now. It is exciting to finally get to put her on paper. If I can pull off the plot arc I am hoping, I am very excited for the end result, though I fear she may have introduced herself in a rather more startling way than I intended.

      She loves it when people like her baked goods. And she would be most happy to carry a bag, especially the new one you made with the red vinyl and butterflies. That is just her thing. She would suggest lots of bright, warm colors--oranges and reds are her favorite.

      She is not averse to olives. XD

  5. Goodness, Schuyler, what a character!! Can I just go ahead and say it straight out that I really love her already? She's such a bright and bold and blunt character, but you introduced her to us wonderfully and I love her honest warmth and sass. I think though, that as several people already mentioned, I'd rather be in awe of her in real life and easily get on her nerves because I'm "infuriatingly polite and agreeable" ;). . .

    I do have a little question - back in the early 1900s, was it culturally a normal thing for a young woman to move out to her own house until either she got married or had to move for her studies or to be a nurse, etc?

    However, I'm really excited about her being in England (yay, for Oxford), and I am honestly really intrigued and excited that you made her a suffragette - it would be fascinating how you pull off that aspect of her character, and with dealing with the emerging feminist movement, etc but making her a likeable character and all that. I'm excited and I can imagine just how much fun she'd be to write!

    Also for the record, I love how she's introduced herself to us like this: "My name is Gina Winfield, and my mama said I was born to boss the fates. I’m two parts skilled mechanic, two parts good cook, and a dab of red lipstick on sassy days." ^_^ <3 Yes, all the way.

    1. Joy, you precious girl. Your love for Gina was so encouraging. I wrapped myself up in your comment like a warm blanket. :) <3

      Good question, which shall be answered in the story. Needless to say, I hope to be historically accurate--but I certainly don't mind you asking. Always good to have a double check!

      I think suffragette perhaps gives the wrong impression of her, and I should have chosen a different word. It gives rise to an in-your-face I-can-open-my-own-door kind of woman, and Gina's not blatantly harsh and unkind. So I hope to make her likable, and--well, I suppose I should just let the story speak for itself! But her suffragette mindset is a key. An important key. And I am praying about how to use it in a grand, visionary way as she interacts with other characters. She has a quality of the Christian life which few of the other characters have or know how to exhibit.

      And on that mysterious note, I will leave you to conjecture....


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